Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, there’s no denying it’s difficult to prevent all your healthy decision making from going out the window. Here, CHRIS RICHARDS, general manager of Ultimate Performance (UP) Singapore, weighs in with his strategies and exercises for making smart fitness choices while abroad.
“When travelling, it’s imperative to maintain your training schedule,” says Chris. “The only time a break would be worthwhile is if you’ve been going hard with your training and diet for a long time, you’re on vacation, and you simply want some mental relief from it all.”
One of the main issues with long-haul flights, he adds, is the accompanying jet lag. “Exercise is one of the best ways to mitigate jet lag, as it can help with time-change adjustments and speeding up the return to a normal circadian rhythm – our internal body clock.”
According to Chris, there are two ways to utilise training to help with jet lag. First, train as soon as possible after you land. “This approach works superbly for eliminating the nauseating fatigue that long flights can create. In professional wrestling, where the travelling schedule often requires wrestlers to travel to multiple cities each week, one of their secrets to staying fresh and focused is to do some form of exercise when they land after a flight.”
Secondly, he suggests training first thing in the morning. So, if you land at night, set your alarm at your usual wake-up time the next day, and train! However, replicating your home training regimen in a hotel gym or somewhere else can be tough, especially if equipment and time are limited.
“Efficiency is the priority here; five to 20 minutes is all you’ll need,” Chris says. “All hotel gyms will have some cardio equipment that you can use for this, and, at the very least, a treadmill. Instead of using it the traditional way, try ‘deadmills’! For example, go hard for 10 to 20 seconds, then go slow for 40 to 50 seconds.”
Additionally, Chris suggests getting outside for some physical activity. “Walking and running are great ways to see a city,” he says. He notes that it’s best to get out early in the day, as exposure to sunlight will help your circadian rhythm to readjust if you’ve switched time zones.
Exercise #1: Moving Plank
1. Begin in a plank position with wrists positioned directly below shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core by tucking your abdominals in, and ensuring your back is flat.
2. Bring one elbow towards the ground, followed by the other elbow, so that you are now planking on your elbows.
3. Return to your original starting position in which both hands are placed on the ground.
4. Keep doing this for one minute or as long as you can.
Muscles worked: This exercise primarily works the abdominals.
Exercise #2: Frogger
1. Start in a plank position.
2. Bring your right foot on the outside of your right hand. Keep wrists directly under your shoulders at all times.
3. Then, return back to starting position by bringing your right foot back into plank formation.
4. Bring your left foot on the outside of your left hand and repeat with a similar motion as previously done on the right side.
5. Repeat this entire process for one minute.
Tip: To increase intensity or difficulty level, speed up the motion. When done quickly, this metabolic exercise will bring your heart rate up and give you a good sweat.
Exercise #3: Squat Holds
1. Begin this exercise in an upright standing position.
2. Then, in a controlled manner, bring yourself into a squat with knees bent at a 90-degree angle, pushing your hips back as though you’re about to sit on a chair. Hold the squat for 10 seconds before coming up slowly.
3. Repeat this motion 10 times.
Tip: Ensure that you keep your chest in an upright position at all times.
Muscles worked: This exercise primarily works your quads and hamstrings.
• Suggested rest time in between exercises is 30 seconds.
• After completing all three exercises, rest for one minute before resuming the circuit. Depending on how much time you can spare, aim to do the entire circuit four times.
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